The World According to Renee

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Paranormal Activity- Review

Mix an all-American woman with a boyfriend who thinks he’s Captain America, a haunted past and a camera, and the result is Paranormal Activity. First time writer/ director Oren Peli was inspired by his own experiences as a newlywed in a new home. Fuelled by a lifelong fear of ghosts (it’s said Ghostbusters scared him), his imagination ran away with him when the house made normal, ‘settling’ noises.

Unknown actors Katie Featherstone and Micah Sloat (playing characters with the same name) are perfect in their roles. Katie has been experiencing hauntings since childhood, Micah is her boyfriend who wants to solve her problems (if in fact they are real). They’ve moved into their first home together, and because of Katie’s fears, have bought a camera to record the nocturnal noises. The results shock them both: unexplained footsteps on the stairs, loud bangs and crashes from downstairs and the guest bedrooms, various objects moving from their original place, doors moving by themselves. Katie is terrified, Micah acts the hero, promising to solve this… whatever it is.

It may have been made with a kitty of $15,000, but it doesn’t show. Using the same hand-held camera technique as The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity has the realistic feel of a home-made movie. The special effects are minimal but reflect the realism of the situation; there’s no bloody ghosts a la The Sixth Sense, relying instead on unseen forces.

But is it scary? Everyone remembers their childhood fears of long, dark hallways and things that go bump in the night. The fear comes from anticipation; you know something is going to happen- but what? Paranormal Activity plays on these fears, using no music to build the tension. Why would they have spooky music playing while they sleep? There’s a fine line between fearing unseen forces and going over the top. The Amityville  Horror had glowing eyes, walls oozing goo, things that were seen. Paranormal Activity focuses on the unseen forces: a bunch of loud noises in the middle of the night. Personally, the only chill I felt was the aircon in the cinema; it was freezing. However, other audience members covered their eyes, hugged their partners, jumped out of their seats.

Paranormal Activity will definitely have you checking the house before turning off the lights at night. You may not wet yourself with fright watching it, but you’ll think twice about that bump in the night.


November 18, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews


  1. Oh the one with the internet? That was totally lame.

    Comment by superfox8 | November 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. I agree. It wasn’t a bed-wetter, but what movie is these days. Still, I was too frightened to have my legs hanging off the bed like I usually do…

    I don’t think Katie was great. She was a bit of an under-actor, or maybe that’s because she was so used to weird things happening.

    I also thought the exorcism scene was a bit lame.

    Comment by Stacey | November 18, 2009 | Reply

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